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My name is Paul Heinrich. I am a 1987 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and I have been an attorney in private practice in Chicagoland and its suburbs (Cook, Kane, DuPage, DeKalb, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will County) since my admission to the Bar in June 1987. The purpose of this Blog is to provide the public with accurate, honest, up-to-date information about Traffic Law in Illinois from the perspective of an Experienced Traffic Law Defense Lawyer. I make money by saving you more money than you would otherwise spend. I protect, preserve, and recover driving privileges.

I got my start defending Traffic Tickets even before I went to Law School.

During my freshman year in College I owned a Suzuki 185 motorcycle that did not have a Speedometer. To make a long story short, I received 11 speeding tickets that year alone and I was forced to do everything I could to prevent the loss of my driving privileges. I read just about everything written on how to beat traffic violations and speeding tickets. With what I learned, some help from kindly old lawyers, and a little bit of luck, I never had my license suspended.

After Law School it was natural for me to use what I learned to help others who are experiencing the same problems. Therefore, I represent and defend people charged with traffic tickets, including DUI (Drunk Driving), Driving with a Suspended License, Driving with a Revoked License, and tickets for Speeding, Scott's Law, Passing a School Bus, Red Light, and Illegal Transportation of Alcohol -- to name a few. Over the past 23 years I have successfully represented literally thousands of individuals.

Please click on the topics on the right to learn more about specific offenses and the seen and often unseen consequences of the Court's sentence.  If you don't see a topic you would like addressed, please send me an e-mail through the "Contact" tab at the top of the Home page.  I will respond to you directly and, if appropriate, post a Topic and blog to address the issue for others who might have the same question.

For this site to be truly educational and effective, I need feedback from you, the readers.  I would like my blog site to be the one source for straight, accurate, and honest "heads-up" advice to aid Illinois Drivers, the accused, and his or her parents through the mine fields of the law.  The more questions I can get from you, the more answers I can provide and the more people will be able to instantly access that information.

I hope to add topics on a regular basis so check back from time to time.

Paul Heinrich

Should I fight a 1st Offense DUI?
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
August 25, 2011
Topic: DUI -- First Offense -- Questions and Answers

I recently had a client come in with a 2nd DUI, while he was awaiting trial on a 1st Offense DUI in a different county. He told me he was being represented by a different lawyer on the first case and couldn't afford to hire him to represent him on the new DUI. He told me his first lawyer told him that he could win the first case by fighting it and that he was charged $5,000. He demonstrated bad driving, failed all the field sobriety tests, and blew a .13 in the first DUI. In the second DUI, he did OK on the field sobritey tests and refused to take the breath test.

I asked him what defense his lawyer had to the 1st DUI's breath test and he told me he didn't know, so I called the lawyer myself. The lawyer told me he wasn't going to win the 1st DUI and had no defense to the breath test results. When I told my client this he was pretty much stunned that the first lawyer had given him false hope and that he was charged so much for basically nothing. Too many people get taken by lawyers this way because they don't know the law and how it works.

The first lawyer knew in the first 5 minutes that he wasn't going to win the case but he talked big -- "oh yeah, we're going to fight this case and win! I have an expert who will prove the breath test was invalid." My client ate it up and happily paid the outrageous fees. Now that he knows his first lawyer was just feeding him a line of BS, he wonders how and why he got suckered.

Well, unfortuately, some lawyers prey on their client's ignorance of the law and their desire for "hope." This client didn't know that a 1st offense DUI stays off your record regardless of whether you win or lose and his 1st lawyer wasn't about to tell him. He didn't know enough about the law to know what questions to ask the lawyer about exactly how he was going to win, what the strategy was, or why it was important to take that course over a less costly one.

If you were shit-faced and blew over the limit on your 1st Offense DUI, you want to talk to an attorney who will give you honest answers, not false hope, and charge a reasonable fee to help you through the process. The DUI is going to stay off your record anyway, so why pay more to fight a losing battle?

 

 

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Supervision for 40 MPH over the Speed Limit -- Aggravated Speeding
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
April 01, 2011
Topic: DuPage County Speeding Ticket -- 40 MPH or More Over the Limit

Under the current law, effective January 1, 2011, all judges are prohibited from granting Court Supervision for Aggravated Speeding -- 40 MPH or more over the Speed Limit.  That means that if you plead guilty or are found guilty of that offense at trial the judge must enter a conviction on your record. Because Aggravated Speeding is a Class A misdemeanor, that means you will have a permanent CRIMINAL RECORD!!!

On March 23, 2011, I filed a Motion in court asking the judge to invalidate the statute prohibiting Court Supervision on these types of cases. In essence, I am arguing that because aggravated speeding can be, and often is, a lesser included offense of the charge of Reckless Driving (a charge for which the judge can grant Court Supervison), it is unfair for the judge to be required to punish the lesser offense of Aggravated Speeding more than he his allowed to punish someone who is charged with the more serious offense of Reckless Driving.

The Constitutions of both the State of Illinois and the United States prohibit punishment which is not "proportionate" to the crime committed. I believe that established case law supports my arguments and that the court will invalidate the sentencing provisions because they require "disproportionate sentences."

I strongly urge anyone charged with Aggravated Speeding -- 40 MPH or more over the Speed Limit -- to contact me immediately. You may find it most economical to join your case with the ones we already have pending rather than hire a different lawyer to do the same work over again. I do not charge a fee to discuss your case and I sincerely wish to help you at the lowest possible cost.

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Speeding 31-39 mph over the limit
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
January 17, 2011
Topic: Speeding Tickets

Speeding 31-39 mph over the Speed Limit is now a Class B misdemeanor in Illinois. 

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine up to $1,500 dollars. If you receive a conviction for Speeding 31-39 mph over the limit your insurance premiums will skyrocket, especially if you are under 25 years of age.

There are many things that an experienced Traffic Law Lawyer can do to prevent a speeding conviction from appearing on your driving record even if you already have multiple traffic tickets on your record. Call me today. I don't charge a fee to talk to you about your case and in almost every case I can obtain a result that is better than what you could get without being represented by an attorney.

 

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Violation of Court Supervision/Violation of Probation
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
January 01, 2011
Topic: DUI -- First Offense -- Questions and Answers

When you are sentenced to Court Supervision, Conditional Discharge, or Probation for a criminal or traffic offense the court expects you to comply with the terms of the sentence.  For example, you may be required to attend drug and alcohol classes, pay fines and costs, and not commit any further criminal or traffic violations for the period you are on Court Supervision, Conditional Discharge, or Probation.

If you fail to comply with the terms of your sentence, the Court can re-sentence you up to the maximum allowable punishment. In DUI and other traffic cases where the motorist originally received Court Supervision, it is extremely important to avoid losing that sentence because the consequences of a conviction for the original offense can be devastating.

If you do violate the terms of your original sentence, it is important that you get an experienced traffic law lawyer to represent you to minimize the damage. The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem and not show up in court.

A lesson I learned from flying airplanes applies equally well here, too, and that is that you never, ever just throw up your hands and give up.  If you do, you're guaranteed to be dead! 

 

 

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CDL licenses and Seat Belt Violation Tickets
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
January 01, 2011
Topic: Commercial Driver

Many CDL drivers think that getting a speeding ticket amended to a seat belt violation will keep their driving record clean. Unfortunately, they are wrong!

A conviction, or even Court Supervision, for a seat belt violation will appear on your CDL record as a moving violation and points will be assigned against your license. Therefore, any ticket a CDL driver gets must be amended to a non-moving "equipment" violation like a tail light out or a cracked windshield ticket if they hope to keep their driving record clean.

Furthermore, traffic tickets received while driving your own personal automobile or motorcycle will affect your CDL just the same as if you were driving truck. Therefore, it is important to obtain representation by an experienced traffic law lawyer in all traffic law cases where the motorist holds a CDL license, even if the ticket was issued when the motorist was not driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle. 

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What happens if the Police Officer does not show up to Court
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
October 23, 2010
Topic: Mail-In Court Supervision

In general, the Police Officer who issued you a minor traffic ticket must appear on the Court Date given to you on the ticket. If the Police Officer does not show up and you tell the judge that you wish to plead "not guilty" and have a trial by the Court, the State's Attorney will usually dismiss the ticket.

However, if the Police Officer who issued the ticket was a member of the Illinois State Police or a member of certain municipalities, the Police Officer DOES NOT HAVE TO APPEAR on your first court date unless you send in the blue copy of the ticket and indicate that you intend to plead "Not Guilty" and that you wish to "Avoid Multiple Court Appearances." In those cases, if you do not fill out the back of the blue copy of your ticket and send it to the Clerk's office, the Police Officer will not be required to be present at your first Court date and the Court will continue the case for a trial on a future date.

Therefore, if you wish to contest a ticket issued by the Illinois State Police or certain other municipalities and do not want to go to Court more than once, you must fill out the form on the back of the blue copy of the ticket and send it to the Clerk's Office in the time allotted.

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Should you try to get a First Offense DUI reduced to Reckless Driving
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
October 23, 2010
Topic: DUI -- Reduced to Reckless Driving

In Illinois, you are eligible to receive "Court Supervision" for DUI only once in your lifetime. Many of my clients ask whether it is worth it to try to get their first DUI reduced to Reckless Driving. The short answer is No.

Under the old DUI laws in Illinois, there was a difference between a "wet" Reckless Driving and a "dry" Reckless Driving charge.  A "wet" Reckless Driving was a Reckless Driving charge that was "reduced" from a DUI as part of a plea agreement.  A "dry" Reckless Driving charge was one that was not related to a DUI.  "Wet" referred to alcohol being involved and "dry" meant alcohol was not involved in the offense.  Under the old law that made a difference because a "wet" Reckless Driving charge was treated the same as a DUI for the purposes of determining whether you were eligible to receive Court Supervision on a new DUI.  If you had a "wet" Reckless Driving charge on your record -- either as a Conviction or as a Court Supervision -- you are ineligible for Court Supervision on a new DUI charge. On the other hand, if you had a prior "dry" Reckless Driving charge, you would still be eligible for Court Supervision on a new DUI charge.

A number of years ago the law changed. Now it does not matter whether a previous Reckless Driving charge is "wet" or "dry." Both will disqualify you from receiving Court Supervision for a new DUI. Therefore, for the majority of clients it does no good to get a first time DUI reduced to Reckless Driving because even if you do get the charge reduced, you will have had your one time "bite of the apple."

That is not to say that getting a reduction of the charge is not important for some people. The decision can only be made in consultation with an Experienced Traffic Law Attorney.

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National Safety Counsel Probationary License Program
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
August 26, 2010
Topic: Driver's License Reinstatement

If you have received an application or registration form from the National Safety Counsel for a Probationary License because your Illinois driver's license is going to be suspended because you have received three (3) traffic violations in twelve (12) months, STOP and call me NOW!

In most cases, an experienced Trafic Law lawyer can get your driving privileges back before the suspension ever goes into effect; without surrendering your driver's license, without the need for a probationary license, without traffic school, and without much expense. An experienced lawyer can even remove the suspension from your record even after the suspension begins!

If you do go to the Driver Retraining Program class, one of the first things your instructor will tell you is how much the suspension of your driver's license will cost you over the next few years. They will tell you it will substantially increase your insurance rates and may even increase your cost of borrowing money because most banks and credit institutions check your driver's license record as part of a credit application. Your instructor will tell you that the suspension will cost the average driver literally thousands of dollars over time.

Why suffer though a driver's license suspension when you can avoid it? All I need to recover your driving privileges is a current copy of your "Court Purposes" driving record. I don't charge to review the record with you. You do not even have to come to my office. I will tell you if and how I can recover your driving privileges. You are under no obligation.

I have been doing this for over 24 years. I, too, was once in your position and I want to help you out with the information and knowledge I have learned representing thousands of drivers just like you.

Removing the driver's license suspension is often quick and easy. It is always less expensive than allowing the suspension to remain on your record!

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Joe was Revoked for DUI for a Violation of His Court Supervision
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
August 24, 2010
Topic: Driver's License Reinstatement

Client Joe, was a 1st time DUI offender in Cook County.  He had hired an attorney to represent him, but Joe missed his Court date and the lawyer withdrew from the case. Joe was picked up on a warrant for missing Court and he did not have the money to post bond, so he sat in jail until his next court date.  

On his next court date the Public Defender was appointed to represent Joe. Although he was eligible to receive a sentence of Court Supervision, the Public Defender who represented him convinced him to just plead guilty and take a conviction for the DUI. That, the Public Defender reasoned, at least got Joe out of Jail. The conviction for DUI caused Joe's driver's license to be revoked! This happened in 2006.

Joe received bad advice!

About 3 years later Joe contacted my office and advised me that he had tried a couple of times to get a driving permit (hardship license or R.D.P.) from the Secretary of State, but was denied each time. He asked if I would help him with his next administrative hearing. He told me the Secretary of State wanted a new updated alcohol/drug evaluation, proof of successful completion of alcohol/drug treatment, proof of employment, and proof of SR-22 insurance (high risk insurance).

Joe gave me a current copy of his "Court Purposes" driving record and told me what he could remember about going to Court for the DUI. I reviewed his record and got a copy of the Court transcripts. After reviewing them, I told Joe that I believed that I could remove the conviction for DUI from his record, end the revocation of his driver's license, and get him back on the road without the need for a restricted driver's permit (hardship license or R.D.P.), without the need for SR-22 insurance, and do it faster than going though the Secretary of State administrative hearing process. He said go for it!

Even though the DUI Conviction and driver's license revocation was entered on Joe's record nearly 4 years ago, I filed a Motion to Withdraw the Guilty Plea in Court and I was able to convince the Judge that Joe's sentence was unlawful. The Court allowed Joe to withdraw his guilty plea even though the State's Attorney objected (normally a criminal defendant has only 30 days in which to file a motion to withdraw a guilty plea). I was then able to convince the Judge to give Joe a sentence of Court Supervision instead of a Conviction on the DUI charge!

Joe walked out of the courtroom, got a copy of the transcript (the form that the Court uses to notify the Secretary of State of the corrected disposition of the case), took it down to the Secretary of State's office in Chicago, and got his full driving privileges back immediately.  No Secretary of State hearing, no updated alcohol evaluation, no treatment, no SR-22 insurance, no R.D.P., and no waiting!  The whole process took less than 2 months.

Vacating the Conviction for DUI saved Joe over $5,000 in unnecessary evaluations, treatment, and insurance. Had he done what the Secretary of State wanted him to do he would still be waiting for the decision just to see if they would grant him a driving permit. 

Joe is back on the road today with full driving privileges because he had the good sense to contact an experienced Traffic Law lawyer and question the accuracy of the information he received from the Secretary of State. What the Secretary of State told Joe was just one way on the road to recovering lost driving privileges. An experienced Traffic Law lawyer may know other ways that are shortcuts to a faster, less expensive, and more successful result!

 

 

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End Suspension for Three Moving Violations
Posted by: Paul Heinrich
August 20, 2010
Topic: Three Traffic Tickets (Moving Violations) in One Year

It almost sounds too good to be true, but an experienced traffic law attorney can often end a driver's license suspension before, during, and even after the suspension ends. We do that by cleaning up your driving record.

In days past, people often called the process "fixing" a traffic ticket. Urban myths circulated implying that the process involved bribery or some other illegal activity. That may have happened then, but, if it did, it was rare, and it doesn't happen now.

"Fixing" traffic tickets now just means utilizing a thorough knowledge of the law to benefit you, the driver.  Often, what looks like a miracle to the non-lawyer, is just routine practice for an experienced lawyer.

So, if you have been notified that your driver's license is going to be suspended for having received three tickets in one year, you can prevent the suspension from going into effect, or even end an existing suspension, merely by removing one or more of the tickets from your driving record. It is a quick, simple, inexpensive process.

There are many reasons why you would want to clean up your driving record and end the suspension. The most obvious is that you can keep on driving and you won't need to get a driving permit from the Secretary of State. Another important reason to remove the suspension is the fact that a suspension stays on your driving record for at least 7 years and auto insurance rates are based upon the driver's record -- the clearer the record, the lower the rates. You are guaranteed to save money in the long run!

 

 

 

 

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